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Congestion hasn't changed in Montgomery Co.

Tuesday - 11/1/2011, 6:09am  ET

Interstate 270 (AP)
The Beltway at the split for I-270 is heavily traveled in Montgomery County. (AP)

ROCKVILLE, Md. - A Montgomery County study on what it takes to help your commute has some surprising, and some not-so-surprising, findings.

First, the report is no longer the Montgomery County Highway Assessment Report. It's the Mobility Assessment Report.


Metro, Ride On buses and even bicycles are becoming a bigger part of the transit picture as drivers look for a way out of the gridlock.

From the not so surprising department, the report finds Montgomery County's traffic congestion has remained at the same level for the past two years.

Nearly half the intersections studied are at or above capacity, meaning they carry more -- much more -- traffic than they built to handle.

The report lists the most congested intersections in the county. Coming in first is Old Georgetown Road at Democracy Boulevard in North Bethesda, followed by Darnestown Road at Riffle Ford Road in North Potomac and Shady Grove Road at Choke Cherry Lane in Rockville. For the top 10 most congested roads in Montgomery County, click here.

Of the 50 most congested intersections in Montgomery County, 28 are between the Capital Beltway and the Intercounty Connector, with 14 inside the Beltway.

As for the Intercounty Connector, the report finds the ICC "does not appear to have significantly relieved congestion at major intersections" near the highway. Opponents have long contended the ICC would do little to ease gridlock, but the report says it's too early to conclude that you won't see some relief.

Metrorail ridership has stayed steady at close to 2 million passengers, when compared with 2010. Metrobus and Ride Bus saw slight declines in passengers.

More people are bicycling. The county finds the Bethesda/Friendship Heights and Silver Spring areas to have the most cyclists, followed by Rockville, White Flint -- along the Rockville Pike corridor -- and Wheaton.

Part of the gridlock problem, according to Montgomery County Councilmember Nancy Floreen, is a lack of regional planning.

For example, D.C.'s new street car project deadends inside of the District.

"We have no apparently no relationship with the District to continue that into Silver Spring. It's nutty," Floreen says.

Floreen says she's not blaming anyone, and D.C. officials say the options for the streetcar remain open.

"We've got great partners in the District, in Prince George's County, in Frederick and frankly, maybe, we could get over across the river and deal with our friends in Virginia. Wouldn't that be great?" Floreen says.

To work on common issues, including transportation, officials from Prince George's and Montgomery counties plan to meet Thursday.

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WTOP's Kate Ryan contributed to this report. Follow Kate and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)